It’s one of the great trials of a reader’s life: the fact that whenever you settle down with a good book, it seems like someone needs you or has a question or—of all things—decides it’s the perfect moment to chat with you. As someone who’s dealt with this particular problem many times, I have several suggestions for how to have an interruption-free reading time.
One: Wear a disguise. This is particularly useful if you’re trying to remain undisturbed by family members. They might wonder why there’s a random person with a wig, sunglasses, and plastic hillbilly teeth in their living room, but hopefully they’ll be too afraid to ask questions.
Two: Put up a warning sign of some sort. Feel free to include actual consequences, and don’t forget to follow through if people disregard it. After all, you can’t risk your reputation by making empty threats. Besides, if they ignore your warning sign today, they might start ignoring One-Way street signs and Toxic Waste alerts next, and it’s all downhill from there. You’re doing them a favor.
Three: Hide. There are different levels to this skill depending on how engaging the book is and how desperate you are to find a truly secure location to finish it.
- Beginner: You can still be found if needed, but you’re in an out-of-the-way location. This level includes reading in the laundry room, behind a tree in the backyard, or in the bathroom.
- Intermediate: At this level, you really don’t want to be discovered, though you might keep your cell phone with you in case you need to be contacted for an emergency. This is the flashlight-in-the-basement-storage-room stage. It can also include fleeing to an off-site location, like the local library or a coffeeshop. Or, even more cleverly, the grocery store so you can pretend like you’re running errands at the same time.
- Expert: That bomb shelter your paranoid neighbors built during the Y2K scare? You’re there. No wi-fi. No cell service. Just you, your book, and a ten-month supply of canned goods and dry Ramen. (Maybe you should’ve brought multiple books with you….)